Hostile crowd hampers police at Seattle shooting

  • Thu May 17th, 2012 5:53pm
  • News

By Doug Esser Associated Press

SEATTLE — A hostile crowd challenged police officers and delayed help for a shooting victim as he lay dying in the parking lot of a south Seattle fast-food restaurant, police said.

Some men in a crowd of as many as 50 people on Wednesday night were “posturing, ripping off their shirts and challenging officers to fight,” police spokesman Mark Jamieson said. Additional officers were called in to quell the crowd.

Still, Jamieson said, Fire Department medics couldn’t reach the wounded 31-year-old man for five to seven minutes. He eventually was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, where he later died, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.

The King County medical examiner’s office identified the victim Thursday as Courtney Taylor, who died of multiple gunshot wounds.

People often congregate in the parking lot of a drive-through restaurant without indoor seating on Rainier Avenue South, Jamieson said.

A witness to the shooting flagged down a passing police car, he said. The officer saw the victim with numerous people standing over him, and no one appeared to be helping. When the officer told them to stand back, the crowd turned on the officer, delaying the emergency response, Jamieson said.

When fire department medics finally reached the man, they knew he was badly wounded, spokesman Kyle Moore said.

“We realized we had to get him to the hospital as quickly as possible,” Moore said. “Every minute made a difference in that case.”

Medics may typically take 10 to 15 minutes to stabilize a patient before transporting, but they couldn’t wait this time.

“We transported him as quickly as we could,” Moore said.

It is typical in assault cases for medics to wait for police to secure a scene for their own protection, Moore said.

The shooting was the 14th homicide of the year in Seattle. Another shooting in the same parking lot last Saturday wounded a man in his legs. That attack remained unsolved, and it’s unknown if the two were connected.

Although police haven’t received much cooperation, detectives are hoping someone helps identify a suspect and a motive.

“Presumably some of the people saw what happened,” Jamieson said. “We need those people to come forward.”

The victim’s brother, Tre Taylor, told KIRO-TV he doesn’t know what sparked the argument that led to the shooting.

“I just heard it, ran over here and saw my big bro on the ground,” he said. “It’s just another day in the `hood. (For) everybody here, it’s normal.”

Jamieson didn’t know if anyone who interfered could face possible charges.

“Our concern at the time was to make it safe — to make the scene safe for fire personnel to get in there and render aid,” Jamieson said. “And right now we’re concerning ourselves with trying to solve this homicide.”